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Ubuntu 9.10: The Karmic Koala Benchmarked And Reviewed

Introduction

Canonical releases a new version of its Linux distribution, Ubuntu, every six months. Sometimes new versions, like 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” are definitely worth the time investment, while others, like 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” should be avoided. So, where does version 9.10 stand? Is the free download worth your time and bandwidth, or should you stick with the (still) cutting-edge 9.04, or even the rock-solid 8.04 LTS release? We've had a month to really get to know the Karmic Koala. We've put it through the paces and now have our final verdict.

Going against all prior experience and common sense, I decided to install Ubuntu 9.10 onto my main production machine, as well as my secondary desktop. Normally, I would use a tertiary box to test a new distro, but Ubuntu is my current OS of choice, so chances are good that I'm going to want the latest version. First, I backed up all my data because I wanted to do a fresh installation. I would have been stuck with the ext3 filesystem and the legacy version of the GRUB bootloader had I opted to simply upgrade my current 9.04 installations.

Along with the standard review of the latest Ubuntu, this article debuts the Tom's Hardware cross-platform benchmarks. The suite is made up of a few time-based tests, some application-based benchmarks, as well as two popular synthetics. Besides being cross-platform, these benchmarks are all free (as in gratis) to download, so there is nothing stopping you from testing out your own boxes.

The Desktop Edition of Ubuntu is the main focus of this review. While I do include a section on Ubuntu Netbook Remix, only the Desktop Edition is benchmarked and covered in detail. Variants, like Kubuntu and Ubuntu Studio, aren't covered here either.

It seems that Ubuntu Moblin Remix (UMR) has not yet reached a final release, and therefore will not be reviewed. UMR is available from Ubuntu's Web site, but only as a daily development build. If you want to give it a whirl, head on over here. Just don't expect too much from it at this point in time.

  • burnley14
    The new Upstart feature sounds terrific. Windows needs to take notes, I hate the awkward limbo of seeing your desktop but not being able to do anything.
    Reply
  • Hi,

    I was a bit surprised to read your slaughter of Ubuntu 9.10, because that does not reflect my experience with it. My first thoughts when reading this were related to the (possible lack of) integrity and technical skills of the author (sorry about that). Then I remembered that I experience a few minor issues when upgrading from 9.04 to 9.10 as well and that I read about people which were unhappy with it. However, none of these would IMHO deserve the label "epic fail".

    Spending four days for installing 9.10 and reinstalling 9.04 seems like way more time than you should need. I upgraded my computers running Ubunutu in less than an hour. I have not tried a clean install but it would surprise me that this would be any harder. My parents have also been using Ubuntu for more than a year now without any complaints (this includes an upgrade to 9.10). Maybe I have been lucky?

    I have been using Ubuntu at work and at home for the last 3-4 years and I am pretty happy with it. I am also happy with the fact that you (Tomshardware) have been writing about Linux a bit more frequently. Keep it up, but don't be so harsh :)
    Reply
  • jj463rd
    I tried it on one PC.Had constant problems with the Mouse not working,system locking up etc.I went back to installing rock solid older 8.04 LTS on it which worked without problems (except for the time consuming (about) 450 updates).
    Reply
  • rsmith13
    I also got the Kernel problem error messages after installing Xubuntu 9.10 on an AMD 64 system. They went away after doing an update. I now have Xubuntu 9.10 on 5 single and dual core AMD 64 systems. with no problems.

    Do the update!
    Reply
  • cyberkuberiah
    hardware driver support from the hardware makers themselves is lacking , i installed ubuntu , could not connect to belkin wifi even after using the prop drivers , and then uninstalled it . patience over .
    Reply
  • haplo602
    nice article ... I mostly skimmed through it :-) anyway can you include a windows 7/vista benchmark base for the same hardware ?

    I know some of the test will be irrelevant (like the timed installation) but most should work.
    Reply
  • DGriffin
    I had 9.04 and upgraded to 9.10 with out any problems at all... I have a AMD 64 processor and had no problems with the 64bit vir... ..idk maybe I got lucky, but I sorta doubt it..
    Reply
  • MaxTesla
    The screensaver starts after 5 min so when you install Ubuntu the screen saver will start and the screen will go black you need to move your mouse too see the instalation again, this could of course be mistaken for a crash
    Reply
  • MaxTesla
    The screen saver starts after 5 min so when you install Ubuntu the screen saver will start and the screen will go black you need to move your mouse too see the installation again, this could of course be mistaken for a crash
    Reply
  • I tried installing Ubuntu 9.10 via Wubi, immediately after rebooting from Windows and seeing the Ubuntu bootscreen it gave me a black screen, with my monitor reporting that there was no signal. Back to Windows I go, I suppose. :/
    Reply